Healthy Replacements: Homemade Granola Bars

January 3, 2014 001 crop

Granola bars are a staple in my house.  I used to buy a box or two every time I was at the grocery store because my family goes through them so quickly.  When I decided to check out the ingredients list one day, I did not love what I saw.  I saw a huge list of unpronounceable and unrecognizable ingredients, preservatives, corn syrup and oils that I had been trying to stay away from.  You can check out the ingredients in a popular brand here.

I set out to find a healthier recipe to feed my family.  I tried several different recipes until I found one that my family liked.  I started with this recipe called Playgroup Granola Bars from Allrecipes.com,  and then I made some healthy modifications so I could feel better about feeding these to my family.  When making modifications, I try to minimize or eliminate all processed ingredients and GMO’s whenever possible, including white sugar, white flour, and vegetable oils.  There is still  more sugar in here than I would like, but I feel better knowing there is no corn syrup or dangerous oils or preservatives that I have been trying to stay away from.

Here is the recipe I currently use, and my family loves them.  The great thing about granola bars is that you can customize them to your liking.  Add whichever nuts, seeds, and dried fruits you like.  My family loves them with chocolate chips instead of cranberries or raisins.  Again, not the healthiest choice, but I still feel better feeding them these granola bars because I know I have carefully selected each ingredient that goes into them, and they do not contain preservatives or any unpronounceable ingredients.  Give them a try.  I’d love to hear what you think! 🙂

Homemade Granola Bars

January 8, 2014 048 crop

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flax seeds or wheat germ (or 1/4 cup of each)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (or chocolate chips)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey (local is best!)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, flax seeds and/or wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins (or cranberries/chocolate chips) and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, applesauce and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for about 23 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.
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